While Bitcoin prices eroded this week due to the worsening situation at the now-bankrupt Mt.Gox, demand in China appears to be surging. According to a report on the Wall Steet Journal‘s MarketWatch, China is currently experiencing a “gold rush” for Bitcoin.
On Friday, while fans in Hong Kong embraced the opening of the first bitcoin retail store by ANXBTC exchange in the city, Beijing-based Huobi.com, China’s largest bitcoin exchange, saw its daily trading volume surge to 69% of the world’s total trading volume. This made Huobi the largest trading platform in the world by volume, according to latest statistics of Bitcoinity, a bitcoin rate tracking service site.
This report is particularly surprising, as China’s central bank issued a statement in December that effectively banned financial institutions in the country from working with the virtual currency. While the statement didn’t actually make Bitcoin illegal, it did prompt concern about the future of Bitcoin in China, and caused the end of a rally had had seen prices rise to nearly $1,300.
Several other countries have issued similar warnings about Bitcoin in recent weeks, to much less dramatic effect. China’s “special administrative region” of Hong Kong, which is not bound by the Chinese central bank’s policies, has only issued a statement that it was “monitoring” Bitcoin. After several slow months, the Chinese Bitcoin market appears to be in the middle of a healthy recovery.
According to the MarketWatch report, as the West dealt with the fallout of Mt.Gox today, the Chinese market barely noticed.
Meanwhile, the trading volume on Beijing-based Huobi.com soared, with 110,992 bitcoins changing hands on the site in the past 24 hours. … In the past seven days, about 1.38 million bitcoins have been traded on Huobi.com, accounting for 54% of total volume in the world.